I am writing to you to share my own personal experience of being a daughter of my Mum who is an Alcoholic. I have also had my own mental health problems in that I am in recovery from after 23 years of Anorexia Nervosa.
I have not lived at home with my mum for 12 years now. But still living away from mum who still struggles has a huge effect on me as I love her and worry constantly I am going to loose her to this terrible addiction she has.
Therapists, Consultants, Nurses etc that have supported me over the years tell me to stay away from her, Or if not to set boundaries. I miss my mum. But going to see her now causes me great anxiety. As I do not know what personality will greet me.
I have had an aggressive type that fills me with guilt, runs me down, and also tells me I am not worthy of being her daughter.
Then at another time, I get a big hug, and mum showing me off to people she knows.
Then at times I can get a mum who is struggling to control her feelings, but is very chatty, very nervous and very child like. So I feel like the only adult in the relationship. It is also difficult in public my mum behaving child like and others seeing and judging.
Why do I worry about her? Well I love her. I see her hurting, I feel her suffering and I am aware of all the things that have happened throughout her life that would not have helped her self confidence and the ability to accept herself. But also she has lost the ability to trust again.
When I lived at home, I was in constant fear of mum. I became a person who would just please everyone else but herself. As it was like treading on broken glass with mum all the time. I was in fear of her lashing out or emotional abuse. The emotional abuse affected me more long term.
My brother left home when he was a teenager and went into a children’s home. He had many problems also at that time with Gambling, Drinking, Drugs and even stealing. My brother now lives four hours drive away from my mum. He has not seen her in four years. He deals with it differently to me. But I bet it still left its scar.
I am the opposite of my brother. I want to let mum know I still care but I admit at times after abuse over the phone or if I go and see her, I am left feeling a failure, hurt, helpless, frustrated and sad. So I stay clear for a while.
Why do I go back to her out of fear of what she is doing to herself? I fear I will not have her much longer if she continues to drink. Her body won’t keep on taking the abuse. Just like mine would not of, when I was starving myself. It scares me so much to think of loosing her to such a thing that can be avoided with the right help and support.
I cry myself to sleep at times thinking she will never get better. I am also constantly reminded by others, that I can not fix my mum. I can only continue to recover in my own fight to beat Anorexia Nervosa for good.
Sometimes I feel guilty. I have had so much treatment as an in-patient and out-patient, in many clinics that treat Eating Disorders.
One clinic I went to was a Priory in Birmingham. They also treated adults with Alcohol addiction. I told mum that they treat Alcohol problems there but she said I would not get funded for that. I want her to find the motivation to fight for treatment for herself. She did for me as well as me fighting for treatment for me years ago. I think of writing to her GP but she has told me not to interfere before.
I always wanted help when struggling. Where as mum for a long time has not and prefers to make a big deal about my difficulties to take the focus off her own. She is not in denial about it. She openly admits to me and my half sister, who still lives with mum, as she is 18 years younger than me at 16.
My concern is for my sister too. She seems happy enough but she has little confidence. Her dad has nothing to do with her so I let her share my dad instead.
However two weeks ago my mum went for a check up at the hospital near her as last year she blacked out. The Consultant there asked her lots of questions about her drinking. He said fortunately there is no damage to her liver yet but if she continues to drink so much she will only last another four to five years.
They wrote to her GP and requested they refer her for some help. There is nothing in her hometown. So other options would need to be looked at.
Mum rang me up to tell me all that the Consultant had said. I remember feeling a mixture of horror and shock, but huge relief that she was going ahead with trying to get help. But the five years of life is still ringing in my ears and upsetting me lots right now. She said she can’t just stop drinking, as she will have fits and seizures it would have to be gradual.
But then she went on to say you still need to gain more weight and eat more. I said I know I am having support with my problems and I am well aware of where I am with them right now. Which is miles better than I was ten years ago when I weighed only four stone and nearly died. I am now 7 stone. Still under weight but more stable and in control of my life. But as with mine and mum’s problems, it is a long journey recovery and I pray mum has the motivation to fight it all the way like I am.
I am now 34 years old and long for motherly love. However I need to accept that my time as a child has gone and I can’t bring it back now and make it better. But I hope that if mum gets support and starts improving our relationship will get stronger again. Also that it would be a healthier relationship.
My eating disorder started when I was 12 years old. My mum’s Alcohol addiction is difficult to trace back to when it started. As far as I know many years she has been struggling. I did not however realise till I was in my early twenty’s. I would find hidden bottles of whiskey, or see her drinking out of a mug. But it was not tea or coffee you could smell it was either whiskey or cider.
I feel mum and myself tried to cope in our own way with problems that life was throwing at us. Mine through starvation and mum through drinking.
My parents divorced when I was 8 years old. I am very close to my dad now but when they divorced, my dad went to work in the Falklands. He would be gone for 6 months at a time. This continued for two years until he finally returned to live back in the UK.
By this time mum had met someone else who was living with us. This relationship was on and off for years. The man had his own business so was well off. Mum and Mike, his name was, argued a lot over the years. The arguments got very violent at times in front of me mainly as by the age of 13 my brother had left home. He did not like Mike and saw him as a threat as we both missed our dad terribly. However I was younger and just glad of another fatherly figure.
But when the arguments and violence got more persistent I never felt safe with Mike there any more. Only when he was gone. My brother picked up on his violent aggressive behaviour also so I also became afraid of my brother. I always never wanted to leave mum as I felt I was the only one who could protect her. Some times I could see that my mum really did not help by continuing to shout back and accuse or shouting negative abuse. This just riled Mike and my brother who had no control over their anger and emotions it seemed. I was the only quiet placid scared and frightened one in the household.
I feel a lot contributed to my mum’s problems. As a child she never got to find out who her real dad was till she was 12. She was always led to believe it was the same man as her half sisters. So this was a shock, but also left her feeling very resentful of her mum.
She has since been in three failed relationships. Two which where violent and aggressive. My brother and his problems through his teenage years made her question her ability to be a mum. Also myself getting an Eating Disorder must have had an effect on her. Through all my treatment, Consultants, Therapists etc. have focused very much on my relationship with mum. But I lay no blame on anyone as an accumulation of things could have triggered my difficulties. Same with my mum. However I go through a lot of times feeling guilty for mum’s addiction. But constantly told I did not tell mum to start drinking. She did not tell me to start starving myself either.
Mum has always been very controlling over me. This made it very hard for me at home, as I wanted to please her always and was very scared of her out bursts. Now I live 70 miles away from mum, I feel more able to be assertive, as I know I have my escape, a secure home with my boyfriend. However I still feel that element of the hold she has over me. With the guilt trip she gives me a lot, or the worry she puts on me, it makes it very hard to completely break free of her grip.
It was nice to hear of a charity that supports children or adult children of alcoholics. I read about it in Daily Mirror. A lady had written to the problem page about her mother who was an alcoholic. I never knew of such support. Great to hear there is. Much needed. Just helps knowing you are not alone with it and other people’s stories.
I am fortunate to have made a new friend only last year at work, who was brought up also by a mum with alcohol addiction. This has been great help for us both as we help each other cope with different situations now we have still with our mother’s.
Anyway hope you find my story of interest. Feel free to let others read who need support and advice too. Thanks again.